She Keeps Her Fingernail Clippings


She keeps her fingernail clippings
in a shopping bag
hanging on a hook
by the bed.
Two decades of snipping
and collecting.
It’s comforting, she says,
how the crescents
curve round each other.
Sometimes she tips them out
on the kitchen table,
talks about her family,
how they all lived, crammed
in a council flat,
seven children and one mother,
the sharp edges of overcrowding.
That Sunday night ritual:
how she held their hands,
each child in turn,
bent her head to the fingers,
trimmed away the nails,
the grime of the week.
That tenderness. ​



Lynne Kohen is a writing student and entrepreneur who lives in Ruby Bay, Nelson. Her poetry awards include second and third placements in the New Zealand Poetry Society’s international poetry competition, and first place equal in the Page and Blackmore’s annual poetry competition.